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- Sorry Daft Question
March 9, 2010, 12:52 am
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Re: Sorry Daft Question
PCI Express slots, have a private bus segment for each card.
The PCI bus is a shared bus. If you have five PCI slots,
they all share the same total supply of bandwidth. On
a desktop computer, this is 133MB/sec.
If two devices fight for bandwidth on the PCI bus, they
get to split the bandwidth (that is, if the burst size
of each is set to the same value).
On PCI Express, you're less likely to have issues with
If you have an older computer, with only PCI slots, they still
work. You can plug a 10/100BT ot a GbE Ethernet card into a PCI
slot. You'll get whatever bandwidth is available on the bus.
And the cards still work seamlessly. If you're connecting to a
cable modem or ADSL modem, the modem is the limiting factor,
not the LAN card.
If you have a home file server, and seek to set up high speed
connections from your desktop computer to the server, you'd think
the slot choice and bandwidth issues would be more important. It
all depends on how well your file server works, as to whether this
is true. Some cheap NAS boxes, only achieve under 10MB/sec, so any
old crappy desktop setup for the LAN, is not going to be a limiting
I'd say most of the time, the distinction doesn't matter. But
if you put your mind to it, you can likely construct a scenario
where it could be important.
Some PCI bus implementations really suck. I had to dump my previous
motherboard with VIA chipset because of this. The absolute worst
motherboard I've ever heard of, got 25MB/sec on the PCI bus, instead
of 133MB/sec. (That was an actual design flaw in bus arbitration.)
So again, if you look around, you can find some platforms that would
really be miserable. On my VIA motherboard, when I plugged in a WinTV
capture card (BT878 chip), the BIOS did *something*
to the bus setup, and I had no performance in the computer for
anything else, other than the capture card. To get my computer
to work normally, I'd have to unplug the capture card. Other
chipsets may not suffer from strange behavior like that.